Something new about protest voting and the radical right?
Their story is roughly this: yes, radical right voters are dissatisfied, but their unhappiness is ideological. They crave even tougher immigration policies (and possibly a more generally illiberal setup of politics and society).
While Wouter and friends were writing about West European countries of the 1990s, their core findings have been confirmed time and again with newer data. End of story.
So I was quite intrigued when I saw this new paper:
Cohen, D. (2020). Between Strategy and Protest. How Policy Demand, Political Dissatisfaction and Strategic Incentives Matter for Far-Right Voting. Political Science Research and Methods, 8(4), 662–676. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2019.21
Cohen’s argument is that both policy demands and discontent are relevant motives, whose relative importance depends on the circumstances, i.e. radical right representation in parliament and government participation. What’s also novel is that the students tasked with introducing the text got in touch with Cohen, who sent us a video showcasing the article’s highlights and some of his other research. That’s pandemic political science for you.
What we liked
This is something which is often talked about but that is rarely implemented in practice. Perhaps the most obvious distinction is between situations where the radical right is in office/opposition (the latter still very much the rule).
What we did not like so much
Our main criticism was that legislative strength is measured by seat share in the last national (first order) election, whereas the dependent variable is voting behaviour in European (second order) elections. This seems conceptually dubious and also transforms parties operating under non-proportional national electoral systems (think UKIP and Rassemblement National) into outliers.
But even so, we liked the focus on the political context and opposition/government party status.